It has been a wonderful journey so far I am just LOVING it! There is nothing more refreshing than leaning on someone else and surrendering. I can easily do things on my own strength but with it comes stress and stress just sucks.
So here are some more revelations that have been given to me this week 🙂
Day 19: Thorns in the Flesh
What happens when it feels like God is not listening? When you pray and pray and pray and NOTHING happens. I’ve felt this way before many times and often have either gotten mad at God or just plain out refused to follow God any longer. Only problem is I can stop following God but He NEVER stops following me. Somehow he ends up bringing me back every single time. I’m like the Prodigal Daughter except I’ve run away many many many times. I have even gotten angry at God for allowing certain things.
But you see, just because someone follows God does NOT mean that life struggles will not happen. They can happen to ANYONE. I have had lots of up a creek without a paddle incidents in my life but somehow after the rapids and hitting a few big rocks I have come out at the end just fine. I’ve gone down a few waterfalls as well. I’m sure everyone has.
While I was reflecting on unanswered prayer on Monday I got to listen to Andy Stanley’s Teaching on “When God isn’t cooperating” and my thoughts on this were answered. And isn’t it wonderful that the Bible is filled with Unanswered prayer requests yet these people STILL remain strong in the faith? Look at Job for example…the poor guy lost his family, property, cattle…everything! He went on an Emo fit like everyone today does when they lose something but after Job was done with the “Woah is me” he moved on, became stronger in faith and was rewarded ten fold. Or look at King David who fasted for days so that God would save his child. His child still died. David still perused God.
One of my favorite men of God to read about in scripture is Paul the apostle. There is just something about his words that make me realize that God can in fact call and save ANYONE. Paul used to have a grand old life full of riches, popularity, power…who in their right mind would throw all that away? Honestly, who would give up everything they possessed and go and follow Jesus. Not only talk about Jesus but get shipwrecked over it, attacked by snakes, stoned, beaten, jailed, persecuted etc. Paul used to kill Christians and all of a sudden something divine happened that changed his destiny. Something huge must have went down because it takes something huge to change the path of a man who was well off.
Paul was a faithful man of God. Really faithful, the guy endured all sorts of horrible things just to tell people about Jesus. Today people would call men like Paul insane or mentally ill. “Throw your life away for some invisible guy in the sky? Are you serious? Like seriously, you need to go see a mental health professional.” (I’ve had those words spoken to me before). Paul was suffering, he did everything God had told him to do so of course he prayed to God that a thorn would be removed from his flesh. Nobody knows what the thorn was but what ever it was it was tormenting him.
“To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given to me a Thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with God to take it away from me. But he said to me ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why for Christ’s sake, delight in weaknesses, insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Paul Pleaded with God to remove whatever was plaguing him. God said No. But instead of pulling a “Woa is me, God won’t answer my prayer.” Paul was made strong in whatever Thorn he had. This reminds me of so many young Jesus loving kids who have been plagued by Cancer. I have met a few, some have survived and others did not. I had the privilege to meet a beautiful 15 year old girl who had both her legs amputated and went through tonnes of Chemotherapy. Not once did this little girl complain, through her struggles she always talked about Jesus and how much comfort he brought her. She told everyone not to worry as even though she may die she would finally meet her loving savior and no longer be in suffering. This girl never gave up hope and gave so much hope to those surrounding her. She gave so much to everyone. At the age of 15 she passed away, but left a legacy and left her family with strength and hope.
Life still goes on, and sometimes we have to do it with Thorns in our Flesh. But there is something so beautiful about knowing that God’s Grace is sufficient for us, and in our weak times, he will shine.
Day 20: Give me some Margin
Could you imagine driving down a highway that did not have a shoulder? A Highway that was narrow and did not give you much space between yourself and the incoming cars? That would be pretty stressful wouldn’t it? When travel down a road I hope that there will be some margin in-case I have to pull over or avoid a collision. It is good to have that extra space available for the “What if” scenario.
Life is sort of like a highway. You never know what will happen, there could be construction a long the way, smooth driving, a few stops, maybe even some detours…and there may even be some accidents along the way. But life is so much more smoother when you have space for a little margin. A little room for things like unplanned events, emergencies, down time etc. But most importantly time for God. Because we can get so busy in our daily routine we lose time to reflect on God, to just sit in a quiet place and pray or read the Bible.
I used to always have time to do stuff in my life, I wasn’t really that busy and I struggled to find things to keep me busy. But Then I got a job which took away a bit of Margin. The Job I had was random hours, I never got to choose them and it became very hard to make plans. Sometimes I would get called in and my plans would change. I Had 3 jobs at that time so what did I do? I went and got another job because I felt as if my current job was insecure…which it was because I got fired. I have never been fired from a job before but this time I was very glad that I did. I acquired a full time job at a coffee shop and because I didn’t have the heart to quit my other job I decided to work all day at one job then rush to work the evening at the other. This meant no time for cleaning my house, volunteering at evening ministries at my church and zero time for friends and family. I saw what having hardly any margin was like. It was stressful. I was a busy little bee with no time to do anything else and when I did have time I was way to tired to do anything.
But God gave me Margin. I really don’t care why I was fired from Tim Horton’s (Yes I was fired from Tim Horton’s…that takes talent) all I know is I have a full time job that is stable, requires less work, allows me to talk to people and I’m even allowed to bring Jesus into my workplace because my boss encourages it. My Husband was also given Margin, he works construction now and can also freely be who he is. Best of all we both get evenings off so we still get to spend time together as a family and I can still attend some of the evening ministries that I am dedicated to. I was worried that I would not have time for Kid’s ministry on Wednesday nights but alas I never have to work a Wednesday evening 🙂
Thank you God for giving me Margin.
Day 21: Operation Christmas Child
It’s that time of year again! One of my all time favorite outreach programs. I love to do a lot of things for my community but there is something so wonderful about blessing a child somewhere else in the world, a child who has nothing. Ask anyone and they can tell you that I have a passion in my heart for this. It’s also fun to pack these boxes full of gifts and send them off and my heart is just melted when I see videos and pictures of kids opening these boxes. How can anyone say no to these beautiful children. Millions of boxes go out each year and this year the goal is to ship the 100 millionth box! I’m so excited to be a part of this and I hope the goal is met!
Sometimes have a hard time funding these shoeboxes but God has been so good. I am now allowed to keep tips at work 🙂 and I have dedicated all my tips to sending shoeboxes out and completing my shopping list for them! So far I have gathered enough tips to send 7 shoeboxes! that is more than half of the shoeboxes I plan to ship out. Best of all this gives me an opportunity to talk to people about OCC and I have been given permission to bring a shoebox in with information so that customers can take a shoebox home and fill it too!
I am so thankful to God for how this is working out. And once this is done there will be other outreaches for me to do. This year I have a heart for the local foodbank and toy drive so who knows, maybe I can be a part of encouraging people to be givers this year!
Day 22: I’ll take this over riches any day
Thursday my Husband was quite ill (As was I…it’s flu season hurrah!) And decided to call in sick. But He was worried about losing a day of work. Somedays I have to remind him that it is okay to lose out on a bit of money, besides, what is better than having a day off with the ones you love?
I have been married to Nick for over 5 years and as of November 14th we will be together 9 years. I can honestly say they have been a wonderful 9 years and I am so blessed to have an amazing man in my life. One who has shown me grace day after day. Nick is a hard worker and will do anything for his family. Many a times he has gone out of his way to fix people’s computer issues or plumbing issues free of charge. He would help someone in a heartbeat. Some days he will feel guilty about leaving me to go help others but I just push him on his way, I am so proud of Him and it just makes me happy to be married to someone with a kind heart.
We had the opportunity on Thursday to just stay home and relax. I put off cleaning and just spent time with him. We had a nice nap, we watched Star Trek half the day, listened to some music and had some time together to spend with God. For the last few weeks we have been starting off our mornings by driving into the next town for coffee with the Christian Radio station blaring full blast. There is something so refreshing about starting your day off with praise and worship music. We get up at 5am, get ready and head out to Tim Horton’s where he gets his coffee, I get my tea. We drive while listening our favorite music, singing along to some of the songs and just starting our day off by putting God first. And what makes me so happy is we’re doing this together…I used to dream of perusing God together with my husband, I prayed about it but gave up. But God has answered my prayers and before me I see a man who is being transformed. We can finally have discussions without fights, we can finally open up even more and we are in sync with the presence of God.
I would give up riches any day for this. I don’t care if after my bills are paid I still can’t afford to go on a luxury cruise…what I have been given makes me so rich it’s beyond comprehension. 🙂
To everyone out there who may have relationship problems…never give up. Always give your best to those you love and be patient with those you love because that’s what they might require in their lives…just a little patience and direction. Life will hand you bad cards but if you have someone to go through life with…never let go of that. Because after all is said and done, Love is always greater than riches.